HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Hanging On The Telephone - New Rules

BatphoneHMRC issued a new statement of practice (SP1/10) for "Business by telephone", 12 April 2010.

This sets out the extent to which taxpayers (and their agents) may notify information and claims to HMRC by telephone.

Here is a link to a hefty 345 page document issued by HMRC re Statements of Practice, you will need to go to page 334 to read SP1/10.

I have reproduced the text of the main body of SP1/10 below. However, I have not included the annexes.

My question to "customers" of HMRC is this, on the assumption that you are able to get through to a call centre, does reality match SP1/10?

SP1/10 - Business by telephone – HMRC Taxes Contact Centres

This Statement of Practice sets out the expanded services which are now available from Taxes Contact Centres which deal with the tax affairs of individuals. It supersedes Statement of Practice 1/05.

Security and confidentiality

HM Revenue & Customs is committed to ensuring the information it receives is accurate and that the privacy of customers' affairs is protected. For the services described in this Statement of Practice:
 Callers will only be able to supply or amend information concerning individuals' tax affairs.
 We will take steps to check the identity of the caller before discussing a customer's tax affairs.
 Callers who fail to satisfy the identity checks will be asked to put their enquiry in writing.
 We will check that we have the customer's consent before we discuss their affairs with their agent or other person calling on their behalf.
 Calls to our Contact Centres will be recorded for training and quality assurance purposes and will be available in case of any disagreement as to what was said.

Services available by telephone from HMRC Contact Centres

The services described below are available to individual customers calling HMRC Taxes Contact Centres about their own direct tax liabilities, and to agents or other persons acting on behalf of the customer providing that we can satisfactorily check the identity of the caller.

The directions by the Commissioners for HMRC under section 118 FA 1998 which provide for these services are at Annex B.

In most cases nothing more than a telephone call will be needed, although the call may lead to further action by HM Revenue & Customs (for example, sending out a revised PAYE coding notice). Where business cannot be completed by telephone we will send customers any forms or other information they need and explain what they need to do next.

Agents and other personal representatives

Some people prefer to ask another person, such as an agent or family member, to deal with their tax affairs for them. We will accept some types of information from agents and other representatives providing that:
 we have been able to check the identity of the agent or representative, and
 we hold evidence that the customer has given their consent for that agent or representative to act on their behalf

Customer consent will usually be required in writing but customers using our Contact Centres can give their verbal consent for a third party to act on their behalf for the purpose of a 'one off' call. Written consent will be required if the customer requires the same person to act on their behalf in any future calls.

We recognise that there will be some occasions when customers cannot be present to give their verbal consent for a third party to act on their behalf. In such instances, we will accept (but not provide) some specific information from the third party on a provisional basis and then contact the customer by post to confirm the information.

Matters that can be dealt with by telephone

The information, claims and requests that may be accepted, from individuals or their representatives, over the telephone are set out at Annex A.

We will also provide certain information we hold about the customer by telephone.

The main exceptions will be:
 personal details such as Name, Address, Date of Birth, National Insurance Number etc.,
 pay and tax details,
 information contained in a Self Assessment Return (if customers require this information, to make the amendments or corrections to their return, we will provide details in writing).

Checking amendments notified by telephone

Amendments to Self Assessment returns made by telephone will be checked in the same way as amendments made in writing and in some cases we may enquire into the amendment.

Time limits

The same time limits apply to claims and amendments made by telephone as when they are made in writing.

Where a claim is made by telephone, it will be treated as made at the time of the call provided all the relevant information can be provided by the customer during that call. And a claim by telephone will, of course, be subject to the same conditions and checks as if it were made on paper.

Where a claim cannot be dealt with by telephone, for example, because the caller does not have all the necessary information, the customer may be asked to make the claim in writing. The written claim must still be made within the usual time limits.
Guidance and assistance

In addition to the services above, Contact Centres will provide the normal range of help and advice by telephone on general tax matters including:
 general questions about income tax and capital gains tax for individuals,
 help with completing returns and other HM Revenue & Customs forms, and
 requests for leaflets, forms, schedules and other HM Revenue & Customs information.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Whats changed? Its always been this way.

  2. Nothing new with this

  3. Just a couple of years back you'd get straight through to a trained officer who'd access your details and sort out whatever the problem was. Now your're lucky just to get the call answered and the poor sods in the call centre - it ain't their fault - work from crap instructions while the thugs monitor them. Result - crap service.

  4. A good solution would be to get the online systems working and not locking you out if you make an amendment.

    Then people would not need to waste their time trying to call the call centers.